UPDATE: Akwesasne files court application over chemical tanks, city eyes options

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Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Grand Chief Mike Mitchell in this file photo.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Transport Canada was served with legal papers this week outlining Akwesasne's bid to have a judicial review completed on the chemical tank project underway on Cornwall's waterfront.

And the City of Cornwall may explore the same avenue in the future, too.

Officials with the Federal Court of Canada confirmed Wednesday Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Grand Chief Mike Mitchell filed an application Monday in Toronto.

A day later Transport Canada was served with the paperwork.

The Mohawk government green-lighted the plan earlier this month.

The announcement followed a presentation from Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger to the Mohawk council on the subject of the waterfront tanks.

"The MCA and Cornwall share the same concern of not being consulted by the federal government for work being done on the waterfront," an Akwesasne release said. "The tanks are being situated on lands that are included as part of the Mohawks of Akwesasne’s North Shore Claim that was filed with Canada in 2012. 

"(The city and Akwesasne) are also concerned about the environmental hazard the tanks pose to our shared waterway. As a result, they hope that through their combined efforts that they will be able to protect the waterfront for recreational, tourism and other projects that will directly benefit our two communities."

In an interview Kilger said the city reserves the right to act similarly.

"We have already passed an interim control bylaw, but we are also prepared to follow other measures available to us," said Kilger. "Those options include stop-work orders and our own judicial review."

City council is expected to receive an update on the matter at its meeting Monday.

The city and Akwesasne have briefly discussed the issue of taking over the harbour-front lands via Transport Canada's port divestiture program, and have agreed more talks are necessary.

Organizations: Transport Canada

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Canada, Ontario Toronto

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